Pat is constructing a dead hedge made of cut-down honeysuckle, fallen limbs, and rotting logs. The wall will measure 3 feet in diameter and 5 feet tall and surround our forest garden of berries, fruit trees, and a duck habitat. The idea is that if the deer can't see past a structure's depth to calculate their landing place, they won't jump. We'll be planting willow on one side of the perimeter, as well. Once the willow has grown sufficiently and woven together it will be a living hedge. I think Pat has plans for a line of rose bushes somewhere, too, as another barrier of sorts. There's lots of work ahead for him as spring is happening now as shown by this daffodil at Spring Bird which is the first to bloom!
Yesterday, we brought home two French Angoras from a breeder in Indiana. These brothers are 11 months old and named Pascal and Chewie. Pascal is a blue angora (the gray one) and Chewie is a lynx angora, which more rare. Both have unbelievably soft coats, which we will pluck when they molt--every 3 or 4 months--to use for fibre. Plucking doesn't hurt them at all, and Pascal is already molting. So, we are getting a feel for the process already. We have to groom them weekly to prevent their hair from matting, and we feed them a higher protein feed along with hay to keep their coats healthy. Eventually, we may get a couple of females for breeding, but until then, we are learning to care for these brother bunnies--our first barn occupants!
PS I promise for better pictures and perhaps a video soon!
I like keeping my hands busy, and sometimes crocheting just hits the spot. With the variety of yarn available, I can't resist making granny square blankets like this one. Since I was in the garden on the first official day of spring, I took a photo of the rhubarb coming up. We also have onions and garlic emerging. The last photo is of the hollow in a fallen oak limb. It's pretty much perfect.
Pat (via our cat Ninja) discovered a buried treasure in our fire pit yesterday. It looks like Mr. Fox had killed more than he could eat and buried the rest in our loose ashes for dining later. The head was bitten off and most of one of the wings. The rest was intact. This chicken is different from the one killed earlier in the week, and indeed, must have been quite fresh because it didn't even smell. I plucked its feathers for my Mom--because I love her--and threw the remains into the woods and away from our cats.
Here are 17 photos of Spring Bird's morning moss and Leprechats. Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!
On my morning walk around the neighborhood, I spotted a mess of feathers at the bottom of the hill and immediately thought that someone must have hit a chicken. A nearby neighbor has chickens that often cross the road, but then, I looked up and saw the more likely predator, a red fox. The fox put its head down as soon as I spotted it, and as I moved passed, it dragged its great big chicken across the driveway, closer to the thicket, and away from me. Both the fox and the chicken were large. I take this as a warning to our future ducks, bunnies, and current kittens. . .
This flannel blanket is for a new baby who came a bit early. I think I've written about this before, but I enjoy making things for our newest humans. It's my way of influencing their textile worlds. I have beloved handmade blankets, ornaments, wall art etc. made by my Aunts which I treasured as a little kid. I'd run my fingers over their stitches and examine their fabrics. I'm sure these gifts influenced my love of sewing and gifting.
It’s usually in those initial moments after we are born that our first blanket is wrapped around us to protect us from the chill of arriving. It’s a feeble attempt to mimic the security and warmth of our mother’s womb. From then on, birth until death, textiles are integral to our daily lives--keeping us warm and dry and reflecting our sense of self. When we lose those closest to us, we are often left with their clothes, which smell and look like our loves but are, nonetheless, hollow without them. It occurred to me that by turning clothes into quilts, that their deconstruction and reconstruction would be a way to transform the clothes into a new textile. While, I have plans to make quilts from my Grandma’s clothes, I felt called to make one first for my friend, Alana, who is currently going through cancer treatment. She lost her partner, Junene, 6 ½ years ago and has been celebrating her life ever since. I asked Alana if I could make a quilt for her to be a sort of comfort for her during this health challenge, and also, to be a way for Junene to be present. So, I designed the quilt to be a wrap--like a shawl-- to simulate a hug.
I’ve enjoyed sewing with Junene’s clothes. It sounds curious, but I feel like I’ve gotten to know her through her clothes--their pastel hues in casual knits make me imagine her tending to her garden. I’ll be interested to get Alana’s reaction--good or bad to this quilt. She has been so generous in allowing me this intimate act of creation.
My master's thesis for the School of the Art Institute, afforded me the opportunity of volunteering at Teen Living Program's Belfort House, a shelter for youth experience homelessness. I've been leading an art group there since last June and have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the creative, intelligent, and funny group of young people living there. They've been incredibly generous with their hospitality towards me and have even asked me to write a blog post for their organization. Please check out this amazing Chicago organization: http://www.tlpchicago.org/the-art-of-creating/
Today, I've been working on some revisions to my mural proposal for the Osage Forest of Peace Storm Shelter Mural. While painting, I've been listening to the band Fleet Foxes ask some of those deep questions that 2016 seems to relentlessly ask. I suppose it's appropriate considering that the intended purpose of the mural is to transform the shelter into a dark, meditative place.
Anna Lentz, artist and writer, blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.